In any Diablo-style action RPG game, part of the fun is getting your build set up right: the right gear, the right abilities, and the right class. Superfuse, coming to Early Access later this year, takes things a step further: it lets you go under the hood and tweak your hero’s ability programming. We had a chance to try it out at GDC and came away impressed that this powerful system doesn’t break the game.
Revealed this week, Superfuse draws visual inspiration from the Borderlands series, with a comic book style that uses thick ink strokes and screen-printed textures to show off a hand-illustrated style. I play as one of the Enforcers, a superhuman race of mutant soldiers created by the galaxy’s elite 1% to control the rest of the population – who may have got it into their heads that corporate executives becoming gods might not have been a great idea after all.
So the tone is a mix of cyberpunk and Watchmen, but the brightest part is how I’m given precise control over how my abilities work. By spending points, I can modify each skill I use, changing its damage output, recharge rate, or even the circumstances that trigger it.
An example might help here: my berserker – a massive guy with a wider shoulder measurement than most double doors – has a skill called “slam” equipped on a hammer I picked up somewhere in the Frozen Mines. It’s a simple area-of-effect attack that hits things in an arc directly in front of my character and sends a damaging crack a few meters from the point of impact.
However, this is just a canvas to start working with. By opening the skill builder menu, I can adjust and change the slam ability on the fly. Maybe I want three splits, instead of just one – I can add a “split” effect that does that. Maybe I want to add a “shatter” effect that sends bursts of damage every time the ability hits something. Maybe I want it to trigger a dash first, so I can use it to dive into large groups of enemies and trigger a ruckus.
It’s like a weapon mod system, but way more advanced than anything I’ve seen in a game like this. It gives me a lot of power over my build – and it would no doubt be too a lot, if it wasn’t for the way Stitch Heads balanced it. Each attribute node and modifier must be unlocked with earned currency, and each time you modify a skill, its associated action point cost will change.
This means I have a lot of options from the get-go when it comes to fighting the corruption gripping the solar system – I end up with an ability combo that turns me into a shotgun blast walking around, each hit triggering chain effects of shard damage that quickly turn aliens into smears of colorful blood splattered across walls and floors.
When Superfuse hits Early Access later this year, Stitch Heads tells me there will be five Enforcer classes to choose from, each with a unique set of superpowers that you can tweak and modify on the fly to suit your style of play. You will also have the option of bringing up to three friends to play the narrative campaign in four-player co-op mode.
The developer describes Superfuse’s aesthetic as “Aztec cyberpunk”. “We really tried to take a lot of South American influences and merge them with cyberpunk to do something else for a change,” says Tim Baijens, one of the studio’s co-founders.
Superfuse will be available on Steam Early Access later this year.